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GP commissioning timetable ‘unrealistic’, NHS Alliance poll finds

By Ian Quinn

A leading member of the NHS Alliance has called for the NHS Commissioning Board to have regional offices across the country during the handover to GP consortia to provide them with managerial support.

The alliance has revealed widespread backing for the move to GP commissioning, but claimed most primary care leaders did not believe the Government’s timetable was realistic.

A survey of more than 200 GPs, PCT managers and practice managers – due to form a key part of the alliance’s response to the consultation on the health white paper – found 78% of them backed GP consortia taking over commissioning responsibility, with only 16% disagreeing.

But only 35% of respondents believed health secretary Andrew Lansley’s timeline was achievable, with more than 54% of those who took part saying they believed the handover from PCTs would take longer to achieve than the planned date of 2013.

Dr David Jenner, senior policy adviser for the NHS Alliance, said: ‘There is a need for a tier of NHS Commissioning Board offices that could support GPs until they are ready to take over.’

More than 70% of those who took part agreed there should be an element of GP practice income linked to the overall outcomes of consortia.

The alliance, which Pulse revealed in July had called for the Government to roll out the plans in a series of pilots, said the poll, including both members and non-members, also showed a strong desire for GPs to be given the maximum possible local flexibility.

Dr David Jenner: NHS Commissioning Board must have regional offices Dr David Jenner: NHS Commissioning Board must have regional offices